Coming to PSN this Week: Military Madness: Nectaris

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Hello, Playstation Blog!

I’m back yet again to talk with you about Military Madness: Nectaris as we approach its impending release on the PSN this Thursday. I know it’s been a while since our last chat, but I aim to make up for it today!

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First off, Military Madness: Nectaris will be released this Thursday on the PSN! You PS fans will be rewarded for your patience by with native 1080p! With that out of the way, today’s topic: tactics and strategy, with a focus on multiplayer!

The multiplayer component of Military Madness is comprised entirely of new content. This includes the customizable Commander Unit (more on him later) and 10 new maps built specifically for multiplayer. Also, not only can you play locally or online with up to three other people, but you can always throw in some bots if you find yourself a few players short.

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Let’s start at the beginning: multiplayer in MM is not for the faint of heart. The campaign provides many hours of gameplay… but the multiplayer is what will separate the chumps from the champions. It’s got more tactical depth than you can shake a moon rock at. Allow me to shed a little light on those depths…

A common mechanic in strategy games is Fog of War (you only see what your units can see). Though fog of war feels natural in real-time games, in turn-based games, it changes the nature of play from “out-thinking your opponent” to “out-guessing your opponent”. That’s why there is no fog of war in Military Madness.

We use a system called Perfect Information. This means: all players have all information all the time. Many great games have made use of this system, including the likes of Chess and Go. Though you can easily see every move your opponent makes (and vise versa), the challenge comes from figuring out an opponent’s strategy and then adapting on the fly to defeat it. So, the depth comes less from memorizing unit match-ups and more from actual tactics.

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Speaking of unit match-ups, many strategy games balance their units using a rock-paper-scissor model. The problem with this model is: when you see scissors, you know you need rock. There simply isn’t much strategic creativity or flexibility involved. In Military Madness, we don’t use a model like that. In MM, instead of there being one clear cut answer to a given situation, there are many.

Think of it this way: in MM a given unit isn’t rock, paper, OR scissors… it’s rock, paper, AND scissors. This means that different players can successfully use the same units in entirely different ways.

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For example, let’s look at the Charlie unit: the most basic and wimpy infantry in the game. With his paltry stats, it’s easy to become convinced this little guy is best used only to capture enemy structures. While that’s certainly a good use for him, the fact his jet pack lets him travel across mountainous terrain means he can easily move out of reach of most enemy ground units, allowing him to single-handedly block hostile troop movements through a mountain pass or circumvent enemy choke points to surround the enemy. In the hands of a savvy general, the Charlie can become just as dangerous as any other unit.

As if this strategic freedom wasn’t enough, players get access to the brand-new Commander unit when playing multiplayer matches! Before the battle begins, you’ll have the opportunity to select from a wide variety Commander Customization (CC). Vehicle Upgrades improve your Commander’s stats while Support Abilities allow you to buff nearby friendly squads or debuff opposing squads. Look for CCs that compliment each other and your own personal play-style. You can view all 20 CCs on the game’s official website (under the multiplayer section) and start dreaming up your own crafty combinations.

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Since you can’t see what CCs your opponent has chosen until the match begins, a good first step to each match is to look at what CC your opponent has selected. This gives you important information about what the opposing Commander is capable of. Be extra aware of CCs like Liquid Cooling or V.T.O.L. Thrusters that allow the Commander to have increased mobility. I can’t emphasize enough how important positioning is in Military Madness and you don’t want to be caught off guard by your opponent’s Commander suddenly outflanking you.

As dangerous as Commanders are, they certainly aren’t all-powerful. You will have many squads at your disposal each match, all with different strengths and weakness, and your Commander is only one of them. To win the match you will have to use all of them together to control the battlefield. One of the most effective methods for this is utilizing Zone of Control (ZoC). A squad’s ZoC refers to all hexes adjacent to that squad along with the hex it occupies. All squads must stop movement when entering a hostile squad’s ZoC!

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This rule is a big part of why positioning is so important. Using ZoC allows you to create your own choke points, cut off escapes, pin down enemy squads, and otherwise control the map. Also, surrounding an enemy squad (by completely covering their ZoC with yours) not only restricts a squad’s movement, but halves their stats when they defend (ouch). You can also bolster your attack by having other squads of yours adjacent to the defender. Though, defenders can bolster their defense by having their squads adjacent to the attacker.

These concepts are vital to success in Military Madness because there is no “first strike” in combat. When one squad attacks another, the defending squad fires back simultaneously (except against an artillery strike). The lesson here: the secret to success lies not necessarily in striking swiftly, but in tactically positioning your squads and then striking smartly!

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Gosh, there’s so much more to say, I could go on endlessly with map specific strategies, individual unit tricks and tips, and CC combinations (there’s so many awesome ones). I’ve explained most of the core mechanics here (anything I’ve missed can be found in the in-game help section), so you already have a good sense about how to play the game. But (like all great strategy games) it’s not tough to learn, but it’ll take a lifetime to master! I have no doubt that you’ll continue to discover new tricks, strategies, and tactics as long as you play the game!

As I said once before, it really is like chess… except with tanks… in the future… on the moon. I can’t wait to see you all online!

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